Bayelsa 2023: Coalition demands implementation of report that indicted Sylva, others

Seven years after a Judicial Commission of Inquiry was instituted by former governor Seriake Dickson to investigate the violence that trailed the 2015 governorship election in Bayelsa State and the masterminds submitted their report, a Coalition of Pro-Democracy Organisations in Bayelsa State has demanded its implementation.

Spokesperson of the Coalition, Comrade John Atani, who addressed newsmen in Abuja at the weekend, declared that there must be justice for the victims of the political violence, which he noted claimed the lives of innocent citizens of the South-South state.

An investigation revealed that Seriake Dickson, who was the governor, had inaugurated the
Justice Margaret Akpomiemie’s (rtd) Judicial Commission of Inquiry, with terms of reference to investigate the violence and its perpetrators.

Further checks revealed that the Commission, which submitted its report in August 2016, indicted certain politicians, including the former Petroleum Minister, Timipre Sylva, who incidentally is the All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in the November 11 governorship election.

Comrade Atani told journalists at the weekend that the Coalition was taken aback that the report of the Commission of Inquiry had yet to be implemented.

He said, ” To our dismay, the findings and recommendations of this report have remained largely unimplemented. This is a blatant injustice to the people of Bayelsa State and a disregard for the principles of justice and the rule of law.

“We, therefore, demand the immediate implementation of the Commission’s report. The government must act swiftly to implement the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the 2015 Bayelsa State governorship election violence. Justice delayed is justice denied, and it is time to right the wrongs of the past.

“There must be prosecution of indicted politicians. Those politicians indicted by the Commission’s report, including Sylva, must face the full weight of the law. Nobody should be above the law, and political office should not be a shield against accountability.

“There must be justice for the victims. The victims and their families who suffered as a result of the election violence deserve justice. This includes compensation for the loss of lives and properties and support for the rehabilitation of those who were affected.

“These victims are Mr. Roland Yinkore (Dead), Ekeremor town (Ekeremor Local Government Area). Mr. Simeon Otor (Dead), Ekeremor town (Ekeremor Local Government Area), and Isaac Godgift (Dead)

“We are also calling for electoral reforms. We call upon the federal government and stakeholders to take urgent steps to reform the electoral process and ensure that such violence and malpractice do not happen again in future elections. A transparent, free, and fair electoral system is essential for the stability and progress of our democracy.

“We urge all concerned citizens, political leaders, and international partners to support our call for justice and accountability in Bayelsa State. It is only through the pursuit of justice that we can heal the wounds of the past and move forward as a society that upholds the values of democracy and the rule of law.”

Reacting to the demand for implementation of the report submitted seven years ago, barely two months before a fresh election in Bayelsa State, former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC and ally of Sylva, Yekeen Nabena, dismissed it as purely a political witch hunt.

He said the Commission was constituted by the PDP-led government and that it is expected that it will be biassed. Nabena said the current administration in the State has failed to live up to the expectations of the people.

The APC chieftain maintained that no amount of political intimidation would stop the defeat of the PDP-led administration in the State.

“This is political persecution. The Commission was set up by a PDP government, and we won’t raise issues with them. We expect nothing less.

“We know that we will win this election. The governor got into office through the backdoor, and he will be sacked,” he said.


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